The right book cover is what draws in the reader

When an author finishes writing a novel, beyond the editing and polishing that comes next, an important decision is staring them right in the face… The cover! The cover of a book is what draws the reader to your novel. Anyone who has shopped for books, whether online or at a bookstore, is drawn to the book by the first thing they see, the cover. Yes, we then turn the book over and read the synopsis to see if its worth reading, but we’re not going to pick up the book if the cover doesn’t attract my eye.

“Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumb nail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.”

― Larry Correia

When I finished each of my novels, the first thing (besides a loud sign of relief) that came to mind was the cover. What was I going come up with to draw readers in? For my first novel, Forever Avalon, I knew exactly what I wanted. The image of a flying galleon was the big magical reveal and I knew it would draw people in. Luckily, the artist saw through the words of my book and brought my vision into life. My wife says it looks “cartoonish” and makes it look more like a children’s book rather than an adult novel. We agree to disagree because I love my cover.

For my second novel, The Dark Tides, the cover art was a stock image. I had millions of images to pick from and this one just stood out to me. The dark lightning tied it into the idea at the heart of the novel, an all encompassing spell called The Dark Tides. The ship ties it back to the first book, and so in this stock art, I found the perfect cover to express the ideas behind my novel.

“I always think that it’s wrong to put images of my protagonists on the cover of my novels because readers can identify with characters only if they are given the chance to imagine them independently.”

― Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects

For The Outlander War, I finally wanted to show the floating island of Emmyr. For those who may not be familiar with my fantasy book series, Emmyr is the Dragon Isle. It floats in the sky above Avalon due to the concentration of magic due to the dragons that live there. Emmyr is front and center of the war between the modern military forces and Avalon in the novel, so I wanted to show that. I also thought a silhouetted view of the island and the battle going on around it would be easier to display. This conflict is the heart of the story and you see it all in this cover.

As I write, the story goes through my mind like a Broadway play in stage, and I translate that performance into the words of my novel. At the end of the process, I take all of that imagery and try to find one thing that will catch the eye of a reader. Just one thing to tell the story and make someone say, “I want to read that book!” Remember these words…

“Good cover design is not only about beauty… it’s a visual sales pitch. It’s your first contact with a potential reader. Your cover only has around 3 seconds to catch a browsing reader’s attention. You want to stand out and make them pause and consider, and read the synopsis.”

― Eeva Lancaster, Being Indie: A No Holds Barred, Self Publishing Guide for Indie Authors

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

My #NaNoWriMo project is finished, so now what?

I realize this may not qualify as a National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) project, but it was mine. This past year, I wrote a monster of a fantasy novel called The Last Magus. It was 189,000 words… Like I said, a monster. I just writing and writing until I put a pin in it and thought it was done. Boy, was I wrong.

I realized that it was just too big, so I decide I needed to turn one novel into two. That became my #NaNoWriMo project… Taking one gigantic read and cutting into two. This meant finding a good halfway point, a new epilogue for the first novel to help transition to the new second book, then a new prologue to keep readers in tuned to the storyline and introduce the second novel. Plus, fill in where needed to make them each make sense as two books instead of one. It was a lot to contend with.

So now, my work is finally complete. Instead of one 189,000 word monster, I have one novel at 110,000 words and another at 82,000 words. As a writer, it makes it a little easier that I now have two books to market to publishers and literary agents, not just one. I mean, I’ve been told that 189,000 words is just to much for a single book, but tell that to Gone with the Wind or War and Peace, right? I don’t know which is easier, but what’s done is done. The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are their own stories.

Now comes the hard part of trying to get someone to pick them up to publish. I will go the self-publishing route on Amazon Publishing, if necessary, to get my stories out there but I want to take the time and see if someone will take a chance on me. In the meantime, I will continue to send out submission after submission to whomever is open for submissions. For now, here’s a brief glimpse into the world of The Last Magus.

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The Kingdom of Attlain was a strange world of magic and miracles of modern invention. Humans and Demi-Humans—Alfs, Dwarves, Catsei, and many other unique races—built cities on the technological might of modern marvels called “Magius Engines.” These engines, powered by magic, light the darkness through electric lamps, connected the cities, villages, and towns in all directions by a network of Magius-powered trains and iron-hulled ships. It was a world of endless wonders, as well as many dangers.

Everyone knew Attlain as “the land of eternal magic” and rightfully deserved the distinction. Magic was at the heart of Attlain society, with nearly a third of the population able to use it somehow. Laws governed the use, and misuse, of magic under the watchful eye of the Helios Arcanum. The Arcanum researched and protected the secrets of magic, ensuring no one abused it within the four corners of Attlain.

Across the landscape—Solara and the Iron Wasteland, along the Skjem-Tur Mountains, to Celestrium by the sea—lived monsters of all types. These were creatures of all manner and breadth, vicious and evil, threatening to everyone in Attlain. To that end, the people utilized professional adventurers to root out these creatures and keep them safe. These fighters, magic casters, clerics, and the like kept the ever-changing population at bay. Among these adventurers was a unique group of men and women known as the Magus.

Since time immemorial, the Magus were the protectors of magic, armed with a magic caster’s power and a warrior’s strength. They were able to summon various magical weapons from specialized caches they wore known as an Armory of Attlain. They were legendary among the people of Attlain until the Magus Rebellion. When a few Magus decided they should lead the people instead of protecting them, they rebelled; but the insurrection ended from within the Magus ranks. However, the rebellion already did the damage. The remaining Magus were cast out, feared, and outlawed by all accounts except those few who remained loyal to the crown and lived as adventurers. For generations, they had all but disappeared from Attlain.

After decades of unknown absence from the landscape, a new Magus emerged to reclaim the banner and restore the Magus’s dignity. His name was Marcus Gideon, the Last Magus of Attlain.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

When a computer program points out your mistakes as a writer, it hurts even worse

I don’t know if I ever told this story on my blog, but here goes. When I published my first book, Forever Avalon, I was excited. I sent first copies of my book to my friends and family. About a month later, I get an email from my mother with two pages of grammar, spelling, and other errors in my book. She said she enjoyed it but there were mistakes.

That was like a stake through the vampire’s heart at dawn. I couldn’t believe I missed such simple errors, but that is the problem with editing. No matter who does it, a professional editor or your next door neighbor, there are bound to be issues. I have read through my manuscripts several times over and I still find errors.

Finally, I broke down and spent the money on Grammarly. We’ve all seen the ads and how the program works. I wanted to see if it would make a difference in my writing and editing. Low and behold, my eyes were opened. First off, I found out that I write in passive voice more than I thought. It takes one simple word to change a sentence from active to passive and it seems I missed that a lot.

I also found out that Spellcheck is evil! I mean the lowest depths of Hell evil. What Spellcheck missed, Grammarly pointed out as misspelled words (pay attention here Microsoft!) WTF? I had no idea. It’s great that professional editors have an eye for these things, but that’s something an independent author like me isn’t able to afford. Normally, I relied on Spellcheck to help me through my edits. I was wrong.

Also, I found that using Grammarly, I put a lot of prepositions at the end of sentences, used adverbs wrong on different occasions, wordiness in sentences, and my comma misuse was way out of hand. Am I that bad of a writer? No, I don’t think so. I think its just I’ve never been properly edited before and gotten the feedback I needed. Most of my novels have been through a basic editing, not in depth. I found that Grammarly gave me an in depth review of my work and made me a better writer.

As I’ve reviewed my latest WIPs using Grammarly, I found myself correcting the errors without even having to look at the correction column. I knew instinctively what was wrong, after just a few chapters of review. This is where technology helps a writer by showing them their mistakes, and making me correct myself as I write. It’s worked so far in editing my WIP, and as I’m writing new material, it makes me react faster to mistakes or incorrect sentence structure. It’s making me a better writer.

So, to everyone out there, I would recommend Grammarly as a tool to help you in your writing. It has its quirks… There are times it makes me remove a comma then tells me to put it back. I’ve learned to make adjustments to the program so as to fit my writing style. I mean, as a fantasy writer, its hard to make a software program understand words you make up as magic for what it tries to understand as our reality.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Soar through the sky “Steampunk” style

I have always been a fan of steampunk. It is an eclectic style of modern technology with Victorian sensibilities. To me, the novels of Jules Verne are the bible of steampunk. To think that he imagined submarines, nuclear power, rocket ships and more in the 1800s is just remarkable.

So I took inspiration from the imagination of Jules Verne and the genius of Nikola Tesla to create a steampunk world. Let me introduce you to a new concept for a new work in progress… Corsair and the Sky Pirates!

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A brilliant inventor… A prolific writer… A chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne led to a world as you could never imagine. A world powered by steam generated not from coal or fuel, but a meteor fragment. Tesla discovered a comet named Uriel was raining pieces of these powerful meteorites across the globe. It led to an industrial revolution years ahead of its time, but even progress had a price. While the rich and powerful lived in luxury in this new world, the everyday people groveled beneath the boot of their corporate masters.

One man brought hope to the people. His exploits were legendary, his crew infamous, and his airship a vision of the future. Corsair and his Sky Pirates flew around the world, carrying out deeds that spurred the imagination. Known as modern-day “Robin Hood” bandits, they stole from the robber barons and returned to the oppressed.

The swashbuckling Corsair was as handsome as he was cool and calculating. His crew was an assortment of renegades many authorities considered lowlifes and criminals, but they were all dedicated to Corsair’s mission… Working with Tesla to bring an end to the corporate rule that was strangling the planet. They came from every corner of the globe… From the outback in Australia to the American Southwest into the skyline of New York City, across Europe and the Far East. The crew of the airship Galeru, named for a mythical rainbow serpent, never faltered and never wavered.

While Tesla made his inventions to ease everyday people’s day-to-day burden, the Edison/Röntgen/Parsons Corporation or ERP used their power and influence to ensure people paid for their modern miracles. World governments bent over backward to appease ERP to ensure they got their hands on the most potent weapons known to man.

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I entered my first draft of Corsair and the Sky Pirates in Crystal Peake Publishers Steampunk Writing Contest, so wish me luck in getting this concept published!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Getting back into your #WIP one sentence at a time

The frustration of not writing | A Writer's Life

The absolute frustration of being a writer can cause major headaches, break up families, decrease in your sex life, and cause everything from drug to alcohol problems. All joking aside, THESE ARE the actually feelings of a writer under pressure to finish their work in progress (#WIP) and its been well recorded since the dawn of time. Have you seen some of those early cave paintings?

“The best musicians don’t always get record deals. The best writers don’t always get published. The best painters have showrooms full of work that never sells. To an extent, this is how it has always been.” Jeff Goins, Writer

To that end, I have been forging ahead, one sentence at a time, and it’s actually been working for me. My goal is at least one page per night, at a minimum. Sometimes I only get a couple of paragraphs in, but at least I’m writing. It’s important to get the train moving along the track, even at a slow pace. Just keep things moving… Think Dory (“Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!”) Sorry, bad analogy, but it works.

The good news is I’M NOT ALONE! I have read hundreds of social media posts from other writers expressing the same frustration. It’s a disease amongst this creative community that doesn’t seem to stay long. It jumps from writer to writer and it’s as bad as the flu (at times) and facemasks won’t help you fend it off.

The best solution is WORK! “WORK, WORK, WORK!” (to quote the incomparable Mel Brooks) and don’t stop. If it’s not coming to you, my best solution is going back a few pages and reread what you’ve already written. I find myself back into the story, making a few changes here and there, and it gets my thoughts in line to continue writing. Soon, I add on one more page, then two, then three, etc.

I have been dealing with a serious case of writer’s block this past summer (which I talked about here) and I’ve finally gotten myself over the hump to where I am writing every day now. It’s been a mighty hurdle, believe me. The first day I got over my block, I actually wrote ten pages in one sitting. It was magnificent, like a breath of fresh air on a crisp fall day.

That’s why it’s called a #WIP. It’s a work “in progress” meaning that it’s not finished. You’ve got to cross that creative gap (so named by Ira Glass here) and take a leap of faith. You have to believe in yourself and the story you’re trying to tell. Remember, you’re the author and you’re the only one who can tell your story. If you believe in that, what’s there to stop you?

I’ve already completed two #WIP that I am currently trying to get published… THE PROMETHEUS ENGINE: Book Four of the FOREVER AVALON Series and THE LAST MAGUS: The Clockwork Heart. (HINT: Any interested parties, please contact me here! Yes, I may be a little desperate… All writers are!) Now, I’m working on the next two installments of the series. I’m trying to stay in the moment and keep the story moving along. It’s not easy, but it’s like I said, “one sentence at a time…” That’s the key for any writer.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Read some alternative historical fiction to understand our history

Harry Turtledove Combo [3 TITLES] How Few Remain (1997), The Great War: American Front (1999), & Ruled Britannia (2003): Harry Turtledove: Amazon.com: BooksThere’s been a lot of news lately about protesters and anarchists causing chaos and tearing down statues. Some see these as a progressive move forward in America, while others look at it as rewriting our history. There are good arguments on both sides. When it comes to statues of Confederate Generals and leaders in the Confederacy, I have no problem with removing them. They should not be out in the open, on display, but rather in a museum or national park (Civil War battlefield) to explain the war and why it happened. That’s where history belongs, in the museums and parks that illustrate why we are here.

First, let me say that I support and understand the arguments for black lives matter. I understand because my daughter-in-law is African-American and, listening to the experiences of her and her family, it makes me realize that my experiences are vastly different from theirs. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in North Carolina, and I never saw or experienced issues with race. I was raised not to judge people by the color of their skin. Even during my 23 years in the Navy, it was never an issue. In fact, most of the senior enlisted and officers I served under were African American. Like I said, it has never been an issue with me.

However, in my lifetime, I discovered that it’s never a good idea to erase or rewrite history. Remember the famous quote from George Santayana… “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” I truly believe that. They are using these otherwise peaceful protests to vandalize these statues. First, it was Confederate monuments, now its Washington, Jefferson, Grant, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and others. They even vandalized statues of abolitionists, women suffragettes, Winston Churchill and Gandhi. It’s no longer about police reform or rights of African Americans, but about changing America itself.

I will agree that we are far from perfect as a nation. What country is? There are parts of our history that were long considered brutal, horrific and nothing to be proud of. And yet, it’s what led us to be the people we are today. The best way to understand history is to look at alternate history of what could have been. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, as both a novel and TV series, gives us a glimpse of the world if the Nazi’s won World War II, even if you look past the science fiction vibe of the story. For me, the best writer of alternative historical fiction is Harry Turtledove.

Harry Turtledove takes one point in time, one instantaneous moment in history, and changes it, altering the future and changing the history as we know it. The best example of this is his novel, How Few Remain. This is the first book of a series that spans from ten years after the Civil War through World War II, but with different outcomes. In this alternate reality, the South wins the war, Lincoln is ousted as president and becomes a stout Marxist, Lee and Longstreet eventually become Presidents of the Confederacy, Great Britain and France are allies of the South while Germany becomes an ally of the USA, there is no rise to fascism in Germany, and instead of a Jewish Holocaust, the mass killings happen to blacks in the South. This twisted view of history is only a possibility, but it demonstrates the power of our own history and how it could have been.

Harry Turtledove has done other books outside of U.S. history; if the Romans continued to rule Europe in the modern day; if Japan won the war in the Pacific, the Korean War escalates into World War III; and other more fantastic and science fiction based alternative histories (aliens invading at the peak of World War II, magic existing in the world and how that changed history, and a trilogy where the Yellowstone Caldera erupts at some unspecified point in the future.) His writings are immaculate and intensively researched to where you actually believe that these timelines could exist.

I’m not trying to be political here. I am a firm believer that we need to learn from our history, and destroying statues to erase history is what the Nazis did, what the Taliban and Isis did, what every dictator in history did to erase the history they disagreed with and put their own in place. It’s not how we learn. We learn from remembering our history to make the world a better place, because that’s what we do as authors.

The stories of our lives are written down by the authors to keep the knowledge alive.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Stuck at home? Here’s something to read for FREE

This week, like many people across America and around the world, I was stuck in my house trying to practice “social distancing” from everyone but my wife and my dog. Although, to be honest, my wife is trying to keep me six feet away (joke, honey, just a joke). We are all learning some “new norms” for the next few weeks or, God forbid, months.

While we are all worrying about our stockpile of toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, alcohol and bullets, I thought I would give away something to help people (a) pass the time away, and (b) take your mind off the stock market and getting sick. It’s the least I could do!

From March 19-23, ebook copies of my first novel, Forever Avalon, are available for download for FREE on Amazon. If you’re part of the Kindle Unlimited program, you can already download it for FREE, but for those not in it, this one is for you! Forever Avalon is a journey to the magical island of Avalon as a modern-day family find themselves lost in another world.

As with anything, I only ask that after you read it, please leave a review to help an independent author succeed! And, if you are so inclined, please check out my other two books: The Dark Tides and The Outlander War. They are also available for digital download as ebooks.

Thanks for your support and remember to wash your hands, stay indoors, and don’t hoard all the toilet paper! Leave some for the rest of us!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

What it takes to write a book, no a series, without going completely crazy

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I have to admit, this has been a journey for me. I like to say it’s been a 20-year trek, since Forever Avalon was first published in 2009, but in actuality, it’s been a nearly 40-year journey for me. I wrote a little bit in high school, but not as much as I do today.

It all really started around 1984, for me. I just joined the U.S. Navy, finished boot camp, and was waiting for to join my “A” school class for military journalism at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind. I spent my time in specialty classes to improve my typing speed (I still “hen and peck” at the keyboard to this day) and performing odd duties, like manning a reception desk in the Broadcast Department office. This was really “busy work” while I waited for a spot to open in the next available class schedule.

When I wasn’t on duty, I found some like-minded friends and we spent our evenings and weekends playing Dungeons and Dragons. I had also started writing then, although it was nothing like the Forever Avalon series. I originally had ambitions of being a screenwriter, so I wrote a D&D based screenplay called “Justice by the Sword” and, to be honest, it sucked. I think most writers probably feel the same way about their first piece of work. I still have it, though, as a memento of my first attempt as a writer, to remind me of this journey I started on.

After “A” school, I reported to my first duty station, the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal. It was a behemoth, quite intimidating for a young sailor, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. Like at “A” school, I spent my off duty nights at sea playing D&D with my friends. Yes, I was a full blown nerd. You have to remember, this was before video game consoles, the internet, cellphones, and satellite TV. The only video games we had were the arcade machines on the mess decks that you dropped your quarters into. D&D let us escape those 16 hour work days, separated from family and loved ones, into a world of fantasy.

It was in that haze between fantasy and reality that I found my calling, my dream, my story as a writer. It started as a recurring dream. Whenever I was deployed, I would have this dream about being with my family on a magical, medieval fantasy world. It was like living in an Isekai anime. This dream stayed with me for more than 20 years, half of which was spent on sea duty, deployed overseas. Finally, in 2001, during my last deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (Yes, I served on the Enterprise! Take that, nerds!) I decided to write down the story. I didn’t play D&D anymore (not many Chief Petty Officers into RPGs) so I took my stories to heart and started to write. I spent my off duty time developing my Forever Avalon story, including world building, developing characters, and creating the stories behind the myths and legends of this fantasy world of mine. It was a breathtaking experience.

I finished writing my manuscript over the next few years, followed by editing and then researching publishers to send it to. It wasn’t until 2008, two years after I retired from active duty, that I was finally accepted by a publisher and my dream became a reality. Forever Avalon was published. Then, I stopped having my recurring dream. It was as if I was telling myself that I had to write this story and my job was done. I can’t explain it, I couldn’t if I tried, but this story was, and always has been, a part of me. Now, more than 20 years later, the story (at least, this part of it) is complete.

I don’t mean to sound overtly mysterious, but I can say I’ve already written Book Four in the Forever Avalon series, and started writing Book 5. I have one more trilogy planned before I completely finish this fantasy series altogether. To be honest, the same thing happened to me recently. I started having a dream about waking up at a crossroads in another world (do you see a pattern here…), nearly murdered, and resurrected with a “clockwork heart” to train as a magical warrior. This dream led me to write another new novel I recently finished, The Last Magus. I haven’t done anything with it yet as I’m still editing, but it’s cut from the same cloth.

I know a lot of these stories have been influenced by the movies and television shows I’ve watched and the books I’ve read. It’s the same for many authors; you are influenced by the experiences of your lifetime. The first part of this journey of mine is coming to a close, but I still have more stories to tell. To me, it’s just getting started.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for presale and will be released on 28 February 2020 from Austin Macauley Publishing.

The Outlander War now available for presale!

The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series is now available for presale! You can order your copy at Amazon UK! Here is a brief synopsis:

It is an island frozen in time and space. For more than 3,000 years, the island of Avalon remained hidden from the outside world; a place of eternal magic, where the descendants of King Arthur ruled over a land filled with magical creatures, Elves, Dwarves and dragons. The island was only accessible through a rift in the Bermuda Triangle, where mariners and aviators disappeared throughout history. No one believed Avalon was anything but a myth.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the heart of a naval exercise, Avalon suddenly reappeared, causing disruptions on both fronts. The US Navy, now circling the mysterious island, wants answers. On Avalon, they fear Outlanders would intrude on their home; and caught in the middle of it all is Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon, Knight Eternal and champion of the magical realm.

The Gil-Gamesh was once a US Navy sailor, lost at sea in a freak storm, who found his way to Avalon. After his family followed him to the island, they decided to stay and make this their home. Now they are torn between loyalty to their new home and compassion for their old one.The tensions build as modern technology faces off against ancient magic on an island where the laws of magic supersede the laws of science, causing mechanical weapons to falter and shut down. As military forces continue to surround the mysterious island, bringing both sides to the brink of war, an ancient evil arises from within, one that has been seeking the throne of New Camelot for three millennia.

UPDATE: The Outlander War is now available for pre-order on Amazon for your Kindle! It will be auto-delivered on 27 February to your device!

Thank you to everyone for the great support! Keep an eye out for a schedule of upcoming book signing and other events.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for presale and will be released on 28 February 2020 from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Cover… Check! Interior Art… Check! Read through edits and proof manuscript… Double Check!

Well, I’m happy to report a other hurdle completed to publishing my third book, The Outlander War. Over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, I received the proof from my publisher to review. During that time, I spent my holiday vacation reviewing their edits, commenting on questions raised within my novel, and even suggested a few changes and edits myself. I find that reading it over for the hundredth time, and you still see different ways to tell the story.

The hard part is not over editing. You have to watch how much you change because it might affect the overall quality. I think, as a writer, we are consistently not satisfied with our work, and would continue to edit unless we stop ourselves. It’s the nature of the beast.

The biggest difference for me has been working with a publisher, Austin Macauley, in Great Britain. They use traditional, Old English, for certain words like honour, defence, realise, and artefact for example. It’s not a big deal, to me. The words still have the same meaning so it’s okay.

In fact, the one thing I will say is they gave me the best edit on one of my novels to date. It was clear, concise, and thoughtful. The biggest issue we had was on the term shield maiden. I had it capitalized throughout my novel, treating it as a proper name, but they thought that was excessive and should not be treated as such. In the end, we compromised. I made it lowercase in general references and capitalized it in titles.

Now I’m just waiting for the finished product, to see the final proof of everything together. This is the end of a journey that began more than 20 years ago. The story behind Forever Avalon has been incredible fun, any its not over yet. The first trilogy of this series may be complete, but the story goes on. More to follow as I get closer to its release. Thank you for all your support.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.